The study of Celtic literature, which is daily becoming of increased importance to the philologist, has proved a matter of no inconsiderable value to the Irish historian. When Moore visited O’Curry, and found him surrounded with such works as the Books of Ballymote and Lecain, the Speckled Book, the Annals of the Four Masters, and other treasures of Gaedhilic lore, he turned to Dr. Petrie, and exclaimed: “These large tomes could not have been written by fools or for any foolish purpose. I never knew anything about them before, and I had no right to have undertaken the History of Ireland.” His publishers, who had less scruples, or more utilitarian views, insisted on the completion of his task. Whatever their motives may have been, we may thank them for the result. Though Moore’s history cannot now be quoted as an authority, it accomplished its work for the time, and promoted an interest in the history of one of the most ancient nations of the human race.
An Illustrated History of Ireland